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Beginners Guide: Die Cutting

Die cutting is a fantastic way to cut out crisp, accurate and intricate shapes and words in a flash!

The level of intricacy and delicate detail simply couldn’t be done by hand, but with a die cutting machine it’s straightforward, fast and so impressive. And with so many die designs to choose from - you don’t need to be an artist to create something unique and beautiful.

Here’s everything you need to get started in die cutting.

What is die cutting?

Die cutting is the technique of using a machine to apply pressure to metal dies to cut intricate shapes, patterns and words from card, paper and a whole range of other materials. The level of intricacy can’t be replicated using scissors or a craft knife.

The beautiful die cut results are ideal to use in cardmaking, scrapbooking, decorating gift boxes, tags and even home décor.

What you need

Die cutting machine

Gemini Die Cutting Machines apply even pressure to dies as they pass through to cut out stunningly detailed designs from paper, card and a range of other materials.

Easy to use, accessible, and with full instructions and tools included, you can get started straight out of the box!

There’s a Gemini Die Cutting machine to suit every kind of crafter and budget - whether you’re just starting out or are looking for an upgrade. Take a look at our guide to Gemini Die Cutting machines to find out which one is for you.

Dies

A die is a thin metal shape that cuts out your chosen design. It has a sharp cutting edge which presses onto your card or material as it rolls through the die cutting machine.

There are so many different die designs to choose from according to what you want to make. From florals, animals, sweet treats and seasonal designs to borders, numbers, words and even dies to make 3D boxes!

Card or paper

Die cutting is a versatile craft technique - you can cut your design into card or paperstock in any shade, colour or pattern you like! Add some extra glitz with Glitter, Pearl or Mirror Card, play with Patterned Paper or combine colours with classic Coloured Card.

How to use a die cutting machine

Designed with ease of use in mind, Gemini Die Cutting machines are accessible and straightforward to use.

Here’s a quick guide:

  • Choose your die and card, paper or other material
  • Create the following combination in this order:
    -Clear Cutting Plate
    -Material to be cut
    -Die with the blade facing up
    -Magnetic Shim
    -Plastic Shim
    -Clear Cutting Plate
  • Feed the combination through the machine
  • Remove from the back of the machine after the motor stops
  • Open up your plate combination to see your beautiful die cut design!

This plate combination is used for standard metal dies with electric Gemini Die Cutting Machines.

Each Gemini Machine comes with a complete instruction manual listing its specific plate combinations. Inside the box you’ll also find all of the plates and cutting accessories you need to get started. All you need to bring is your paper or card!

Simply follow the steps to feed your die and material through the machine and watch as amazingly intricate designs are created!

 

Manual Machines

The Gemini Midi and Gemini Mini machines are manual and are even more simple to use for die cutting!

  • Arrange your metal die onto your cardstock
  • Place inside the Plastic Folder
  • Turn the handle until the Plastic Folder comes out the back of the machine
  • Open the folder to reveal a beautiful die-cut design!

Each Gemini Machine comes with a complete instruction manual listing its specific plate combinations. Inside the box you’ll also find all of the plates and cutting accessories you need to get started. All you need to bring is your paper or card!

Simply follow the steps to feed your die and material through the machine and watch as amazingly intricate designs are created!

Die cutting materials

As well as paper and card, Gemini Die Cutting Machines cut through so many different materials:

  • Foil – perfect for adding a metallic effect
  • Fabric - ideal for cutting out all of the panels for sewing projects
  • Vellum – translucent paper for a soft and elegant look
  • Chipboard – offers extra stability
  • Vinyl – perfect for stickers!
  • Cork – adds instant texture
  •  Foam – add underneath paper die-cut shapes for extra height and dimension

Top hints and tips

Here are a few extra ideas to make sure every die cut creation is perfectly precise!

  • Always use your die cutting machine on a flat surface
  • If you’re worried about your die moving when going through the machine, secure onto your card or material with some Low Tack Tape! It’s easy to remove and won’t tear or damage your design
  •  Use a Pokey Tool to release very intricate designs from the die with no tearing!
  • Or use a Die Brush Tool and Foam pad to remove paper and card from your dies - just roll over the die and voila!

Die cutting inspiration

You can use your die cut shapes to embellish and decorate your crafting creations in card making, scrapbooking, gift box and gift tag making, home décor, quilting and more! Here are few ideas to get your creative cogs turning!